Notes from Meeting Tuesday 27th November in Wivenhoe Library, open to all.
Wivenhoe library and librarians are under grave threat as part of the money-saving drive by Essex County Council to close 29, offer 19 the chance to make them volunteer–run, keep 15 the same, and call the remaining 15 hubs, but give them no extra money!
Wivenhoe is ‘Tier 3’ which means not considered necessary and offered to the community for volunteers to run.
The meeting felt there were a number of questions to be asked about the consultation:
How were the points scales decided upon to give libraries different scores?
What is meant by ‘usage’, how and when was this calculated?
What age resident is the consultation open to?
Can we review the hours?
Can we reduce or stop rental charges to groups and activities and make the booking/hiring process simpler and under local control in the library?
Priorities for group activity
Make sure everyone knows about the threat of closure
Invite and help everyone to respond to the consultation
Increase library usage, social and educational
Review the needs of the residents and shape the library service to meet them.
Ideas to promote the campaign to Save Wivenhoe Library and Librarians
• Use the library, take out books, order interesting books and encourage people to sign up. Let people know how to join, re-join, activities and how to book.
• Organise a book amnesty to encourage people to come back
• Challenge ECC on the declining investment
• Publicise the consultation:
Take it to clubs and activities
Contact local schools
Use Wivenhoe Town Council Offices and noticeboards
Stalls outside local shops
At the Christmas Lights on 6th December
At Wivenhoe Market
Posters, a rally, banners
Social media – make the consultation an event – ask what people want from the evolving library – get ‘influencers to spread the word
A wishing tree
Organise a ‘raid’, when everyone takes book out on the same day so the shelves are bare!
Organise more activities in the library
Wivenhoe library and librarians are under grave threat as part of the money-saving drive by Essex County Council to close 29, offer 19 the chance to make them volunteer –run, keep 15 the same, and call the remaining 15 hubs, but give them no extra money!
Essex County Council has a statutory duty as a library authority under the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964: “To provide a comprehensive and efficient library service for all persons desiring to make use thereof……”, “All persons” means all those who live, work or study full time in the county.” (3)
The council is choosing to reduce their provision of this service, as they are able to decide what ‘comprehensive’ means, and this service does not make money for the council. A survey, carried out in spring 2018 showed that libraries are valued and that people want them to be designed and delivered to meet their needs. It did not say that people want them to close or services to be reduced.
The rationale is that library use for traditional book borrowing is down and people have smartphones. BUT
Data to show that libraries are not used is based on the use of library cards – which is influenced by the fact that book borrowing is down.
Other services have been moved into libraries – for example, Prettygate library, which is to be closed, houses the toy library.
Social use of libraries is sometimes reduced due to rental charges to groups, for example Re-Use, Recycle was charged for reducing landfill by holding a repair café in the Wivenhoe library and had to stop coming.
Re-shaping the service and meeting people’s needs is not the same as closing libraries and saving money.
Losing socially and educationally valuable service will cost more than it saves.
- Statutory Duties Essex County Council has statutory duty as a library authority under the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964: “To provide a comprehensive and efficient library service for all persons desiring to make use thereof……”, “All persons” means all those who live, work or study full time in the county.” “In fulfilling its duty …. A library authority shall in particular have regard for the desirability of securing …. that facilities are available for the borrowing of, or reference to, books… and other materials sufficient in number and range and quality to meet the general requirements and special requirements both of 1 Social Isolation in Essex, ECC Strategic Planning & Commissioning, 2013; Social Isolation & Loneliness: Literature & best practice review, research and recommendations, ECC Organisational Intelligence [date]; Social Isolation of Pregnant Mothers and Families with Young Children, ECC Organisational Intelligence, July 2016 Draft Essex Library Services Needs Assessment, October 2018 4 adults and children; and of encouraging both adults and children to make full use of the library service, and of providing advice as to its use and of making available such bibliographical and other information as may be required by persons using it.” Public Sector Equality Duty in the Equalities Act 2010
Letter to all library users:
Public consultation on Essex Future Library Services Strategy (2019-2024)
29 November 2018 – 20 February 2019
I am writing to you as a library user to invite you to help us make decisions on the future of Essex Library Services.
At Essex County Council, we recognise library services play a unique and valued role in our society. But in the last five years use has slumped: loans have almost halved and fewer than one in five Essex residents use libraries. The current service needs to change to fit the way we live now and in the future.
Earlier this year we asked for people’s views on library services. We have listened to what
Essex people have told us and come up with a set of proposals which are set out in a draft strategy. Our five-year plan in that draft strategy is for a service that:
- Keeps books and reading at the heart of our library service offer
- Embraces digital technology and e-library services
- Has a smaller number of libraries which better meet community needs
- Works in partnership with communities to run library services.
It is vital we operate a service that is viable to run and is relevant to people’s lives. The proposals therefore include some significant changes to the current service. We want to get your views on these proposals.
You can find more information about our proposals and complete the survey at www.essex.gov.uk/libraries-consultation. You can complete the survey as an individual or on behalf of an organisation.
If you need help to complete the survey, would like it in large print, or would like a printed copy of the EasyRead versions, please ask at your local library or call 0345 603 7639.
During the consultation, we will also be holding information drop-ins at every library providing a further opportunity to ask questions, complete the consultation and find out more.
If you are from a community group or organisation we would also welcome your help to publicise the consultation to your members or service users. If you would like copies of publicity material please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The deadline for completing the consultation survey is 20 February 2019.
All the responses from the consultation will be analysed and findings published on the consultation website. These will be available on request for those without internet access.
Any changes proposed will be considered when the strategy is finalised in summer 2019.
I am very much looking forward to finding out what you think about our proposals.
Cllr Susan Barker
Cabinet Member for Customer and Corporate Services
Telephone: 0345 603 7639